Links 2/28/2020

Amphibians are able to glow in the dark — but scientists had no idea until now CBS

Stocks fall again in worst week since 2008 crisis FT

PG&E Faces Record Fine of $2.1 Billion for Role in Wildfires Bloomberg

East Loop reopens after major water main break flooded freeway ABC13. Houston.


Once again I must apologize for #COVID-19 links all over the place, but that’s where we are, isn’t it?

* * *

Coronavirus and its global sweep stokes fear over facts. Experts say it’s unlikely to produce ‘apocalyptic scenario’ USA Today. The “expert” (ugh, but) is Ilaria Capua; pretty good.

A single coronavirus case exposes a bigger problem: The scope of undetected U.S. spread is unknown STAT

California health officials confirm 33 cases of novel coronavirus Axios (DL).

Florida won’t release data on coronavirus testing Politico. Because, ya know, totalitarian governments are less effective at fighting epidemics.

New York Is Making Its Own Coronavirus Test After The CDC’s Test Has Repeatedly Failed Buzzfeed. Institutional rot exposed under stress.

* * *

Whistleblower: Feds helping evacuees lacked virus protection AP

Trump says he can bring in coronavirus experts quickly. The experts say it is not that simple. WaPo. All the way at the end:

It is not easy to persuade a lot of people with specialized skills to suddenly shift to federal service to help respond to a threat, said Shahpar, who now works at Resolve to Save Lives, a global nonprofit that aims to prevent epidemics and deaths from cardiovascular disease.

“They have stable jobs with retirement plans,” he said. “They are not going to quit their job at the university or quit their job in the local government to go join the U.S. federal government for six months because of coronavirus. It doesn’t work like that.”

No, it doesn’t.

Trump was not told coronavirus-infected Americans would be flown home from cruise ship WaPo. Now would be a good time to have a germaphobe President with administrative skills, instead of the President we have.

Because markets:


When a Pandemic Meets a Personality Cult Paul Krugman, NYT. The political class should be rooting, with one voice, for the administration to succeed on this issue. But here we are; crabs in a bucket.

* * *

Illness forces the Pope to cancel an event in Rome a day after showing solidarity with coronavirus sufferers and shaking hands with congregation at weekly audience Daily Mail (BC). 83-years-old, past respiratory illness.



And, of course, homeless encampments.

Australia’s coronavirus pandemic plan: mass vaccinations and stadium quarantine Guardian


Apple CEO optimistic about China putting coronavirus under control Xinhua

Starbucks’ CEO says 85% of stores in China are open Reuters

Publisher, 2 politicians charged over Hong Kong protests Hong Kong Free Press


PM Abe asks all of Japan schools to close over coronavirus Reuters

Limited Virus Testing in Japan Masks True Scale of Infection Bloomberg

The Koreas

Smudge-proof makeup gains popularity amid virus outbreak Korea Herald

Virus enigma: Experts ask why Africa seems to have few cases Agence France Presse8

Running out of time: East Africa faces new locust threat Reuters. On locusts, see NC here.

Impounded sandwiches The Baffler


Scars of violence haunt India’s capital after deadly riots AP

India riots: ‘We were attacked because we are Muslim’ FT


The Afghanistan ‘peace deal’ riddle Pepe Escobar, Asia Times (KW).

In Lebanon, migrant workers hit by financial crisis Agence France Presse


UK says it will consider walking away from Brexit talks in June Guardian (Vlade). Vlade: “My prediction – no FTA. The sides are way too far apart, and don’t seem really that interested in each other anymore. Given covid, we’re in for a rough ride next year, and I’d say that state interventions will be a must. Which doesn’t portend well for Germany, with its abhorrence on state spending and export orientation.”

EU-UK trade talks: four key battle lines for post-Brexit settlement FT

Defra confirms reductions in support for farmers DREFA Weekly


Ukraine court forces probe into Biden role in firing of prosecutor Viktor Shokin The Seattle Times (Furzy Mouse).

Trump Transition

If We Don’t Reform the Supreme Court, Nothing Else Will Matter The Nation

Trump’s DOJ Interference Is Actually Not Crazy The Atlantic


Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders NYT. Worth reading in full….

Pelosi vows House will promote its own ‘non-menacing’ 2020 agenda regardless of presidential nominee The Hill and Nancy Pelosi says she would be comfortable with Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic presidential nomination CNN. Because dental is “menacing.”

Elizabeth Warren Gets Giant Lift From Persist PAC NYT. It certainly is odd that we don’t know who Warren’s SuperPAC donors are, especially in a campaign so committed to transparency.

How To Be a Democrat, According to Republicans The Outline

Bolivia dismissed its October elections as fraudulent. Our research found no reason to suspect fraud. WaPo. Oopsie. Better roll back that coup, I guess.

Our Famously Free Press

MSNBC just destroyed what was left of his kindness Welcome to Hellworld


A 10-year-old boy was accidentally shot by his babysitter while she was taking selfies with a gun, police say CNN. Life’s little ironies…

Mass shooting victims face large uncovered medical and long-term care costs Modern Healthcare. From 2017, still germane.

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Pentagon promises to use artificial intelligence for good, not evil Military Times. Oh.

Recovered History: America lured, drowned thousands of Cubans Yasha Levine

Class Warfare

Debtors of the World, Unite! Boston Review

Socks, underwear require ‘additional security’ at this Minnesota Walmart Bring Me The News (CL). No doubt face masks, hand sanitizer, rubbing alchohol, etc. will be locked up soon, if they have not already been.

NGOs and The Judges Of The ECHR, 2009-2019 (PDF) European Centre for Law and Justice (MT)\. “NGOs have an increasing influence on and within international institutions, particularly within the human rights protection system. This report shows that at least 22 of the 100 permanent judges who have served on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) between 2009 and 2019 are former officials or collaborators of seven NGOs that are highly active before the Court. Twelve judges are linked to the Open Society Foundation (OSF) network, seven to the Helsinki committees, five to the International Commission of Jurists, three to Amnesty International, and one each to Human Rights Watch, Interights and the A.I.R.E. Centre. The Open Society network is distinguished by the number of judges linked to it and by the fact that it funds the other six organisations mentioned in this report.” • Not like Bloomberg is the only squillionare buying up institutions.

Antidote du jour:

Cute couple.

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. BlakeFelix

    Ha! I always wondered why my bossy cat was so into licking me! And the other one not really at all. She won’t groom him so I guess the pecking order is boss beast>Me>Mr. Howell.

    1. Clive

      Yes, I too am feeling bereft, bewildered and betrayed. I’m just enroute to the suburbs of the circles of Hell (well, if you insist on accuracy, the south coast of England) to visit my mother-in-law whereupon I’ve, up until now, been charmed when her cat (an all too rare event, considering the tendency to be quick with the claws) licks and pats my outstretched hand, if offered.

      And I though she (the cat) was being nice. Now, I find out it was a feline put-down. Like I don’t get enough human ones.

      Oh, then never mind, in that case, I’m not giving her a cheesey treat to bribe her into being my friend ev-ah again!

      1. OIFVet

        But you see Clive, cheesy treats are not about bribing them, it’s about knowing a human’s proper role: being a cat’s servant. Such has been the case ever since cats subjugated the ancient Egyptians and forced them to worship feline gods.

  2. dearieme

    “The scope of undetected U.S. spread is unknown”: am I alone in hooting?

    “New York Is Making Its Own Coronavirus Test After The CDC’s Test Has Repeatedly Failed”
    I can remember Meghan McArdle suggesting that one reason Europeans accord their governments more power than seems wise to Americans is that the US Federal Government is unusually incompetent. Could there be some truth in this?

    “They are not going to quit their job at the university or quit their job in the local government to go join the U.S. federal government for six months because of coronavirus. It doesn’t work like that.”
    Well, conscript them then.

    ” Now would be a good time to have a germaphobe President with administrative skills”. It’s because they fear he might have some administrative skills that they keep him in the dark.

    1. a different chris

      >Meghan McArdle … truth

      No. McArdle is amazing because she is just wrong about everything. Most paid propagandists at least know to weave a lot of truth around their lies.

      I guess to be fair they know they are lying, whereas Ms. McArdle is just clueless.

    2. Matthew

      McGriddle is a libertarian boob. She and people like her are perfectly happy with an incompetent federal government and do everything to keep it that way.

      1. JBird4049

        Maybe the increasing incompetence of the government at the federal, state, and municipal levels is merely a coincidence?

        1. Balakirev

          It’s hard to improve on perfection, but the genius of our political leaders is that they never stop trying.

      2. False Solace

        Competence costs money. The CDC would have more of each if Trump and Congress stopped cutting their budget every year.

    3. Prodigalson

      Hope they’re not putting too much faith in conscription as the game plan. Curious what legal basis they’re going to use for it, or how they’d enforce it, or where they plan on conscripting from, or the criteria for selection, etc. Etc.

      1. Mel

        I don’t see that the problem lies in getting the experts .. the problem is squaring it with the experts’ employers. Bad scenario: expert taken away, employer loses some contracts with just-in-time-oriented customers, employer vanishes; then expert returns from government service, comes back to … ___ . Or a less innocent employer just decides that they have to hire someone to replace the absent expert. Expert loses employer’s health plan …

      2. False Solace

        Forced servitude is unconstitutional in the US, except for people convicted of a crime. We basically fought a war over it. Somehow the draft is still legal though.

        1. Oregoncharles

          I’m told that slavery was called “involuntary servitude” precisely in order to include the draft, which caused major riots during the Civil War.

          The SCOTUS has chosen to ignore the choice of words, however, as they do on other issues, like “personhood.”

          We’re forced to conclude that the Court is a purely political institution, disguised as judicial.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          That’s OK. We’ll just tax them prohibitively; like forced school attendance, or the draft, or perhaps quarantines, this is pre-requisite a sovereign state.

          Incidentally, wage labor is certainly an edge case of involuntary servitude; work, or starve. But I have yet to hear a libertarian make that argument.

    4. campbeln

      Just wait until Bernie comes down with coronavirus :(

      Wouldn’t that be a convenient way to get him out of the race and show his age as a weakness all in a completely untraceable, deniable way. Not to mention that he’s out there in large crowds shaking hands anyway while I’m sure Uncle Joe and Mini Mike will ensure their photo-ops while not mixing with untested rabble…

      Please let me be wrong on this one!

      1. Jeotsu

        If you want a truely terrifying thought — considering the lethality of Covid-19 based on age demographic, and the potential-infection exposure all the candidates get from campaigning, we could see a ‘sweep the field’ mortality pulse that leaves only (drum roll)…. Mayo Pete.

    5. Cuibono

      As I previously stated. Australia had testing kits within 1 week independently. So too did lots of countries.
      One wonders if CDC is trying hard enough…

      Perhaps some dont want testing to be available quite yet

    6. chuck roast

      I work for the Feds for a number of years. My colleagues knew the statutes, regs., and requirements and were very competent and hard working. They were very proud of what they did. Client threats backed up by congressional interference were an occasional and unsavory part of the job, but they never demanded that we do illegal things.

      The rule, from my very early town planning days to my final week on the job was…they congratulate themselves on passing a regulation that serves the people and immediately go about defunding it. Sameo, sameo.

  3. Wukchumni

    California health officials confirm 33 cases of novel coronavirus Axios

    California health officials have 200 testing kits on hand and will be receiving more next week, according to Newsom.

    In my ongoing comparison of late stage USA vs USSR, this is somewhat of a classic in that there can be no more than a couple hundred cases of Coronavirus in California, tops. Almost like Chernobyl in Soviet denialism of anything of import happening, that is until countries outside their influence starting noticing all that radiation that must’ve come from somewhere?

    Now, whether this accumulation was the work of a 3rd level apparatchik, or just all we’re capable of at this juncture, is sadly par for the course, Fore!

    1. a different chris

      Yeah actually about 20 cases “tops”, because you figure you would be prepared* test an order of magnitude more than would come up positive. I mean what’s the point of a test if you already know the results? And in this case especially, because as I understand it (and am not sure I do, TBH) it looks just like the flu.

      *yes using the word really, really loosely per today’s neolib society…

      1. Oregoncharles

        Apparently it looks like a common cold until the pneumonia starts, about a week in, if you’re unlucky.

        So everyone with a cold has to be checked for pneumonia at least once. Like that’s going to happen.

      1. Hank Linderman


        “During the current global public health care emergency we will be offerring discounts of up to 7% in exchange for your contacts list.”

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          Bronze grade health care while you recover from coronavirus, if you indenture yourself subsequently for a period of no more then 3 years to take care of future sick patients after your recovery.

          In cases where patient is admitted in an unconscious state, informed consent will be deferred until a period of not less then 6 months after recovery, so that the appropriate and justified cost-recovery can occur while recovered patient works off the debt.

          ‘unrecovered’ patients (those who, unfortunately, have found that the recovery process has developed not necessarily to their advantage) will have at least one current family member (no more then twice removed, if single/orphaned/childless) of working age and able-bodied, provide substitute replacement capabilities for this 6 month duration.

          Offer not valid in Hawaii, Alaska, or the Trust Territories of the Pacific.

          1. JBird4049

            You do realize that this modest proposal of yours would be seriously considered by our Beloved Ruling Class, if they thought that get it done, don’t you? Who needs testing kits for the masses? Just have them indentured.

    1. dan

      Definitely can make an argument that vaccinating everyone to prevent a outbreak is most cost effective than dealing with an actual outbreak.

      Not sure why this point is not being emphasized during the democratic debates, as well as the gutting of departments like the CDC.

      1. voislav

        Not if you are in the health industry. Treatment is way more profitable than the cure. I’d almost expect to see a lawsuit against the government for tortious interference.

        1. jsn

          Yep, this is where we are.

          Govt exists to enforce corporations rifts to strip mine the population.

          If they can’t afford to self treat, probably can’t afford to eat, it’s just as well they die.

          For corporate Democrats, the poor represent a huge threat corporate/people buddies.

          1. JBird4049

            This is the economic Peter Principle;disease care is much more profitable that disease prevention, but infection epidemics are so much more dangerous than any cost benefit and anyone, including the average psychopath, who has read some history knows this. But what the heck, hiring people to shout “Bring out your dead!” and dig them trenches could be part of the very profitable ultimate liquidation sale.

        2. MLTPB

          We so see examples of that, sadly, but it is not always so, even today – every year, we are encouraged to get a flu shot, to avoid needing treatment later.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        Same as why companies get data breaches, cryptolocker, etc. The people in charge hear the cost to prevent the issue vs. the estimated cost if something happens and they opt to roll the dice because there’s that chance it might not happen and they won’t have to face accountability if it does.

      3. montanamaven

        Should we rethink some of these “health” organizations? The CDC and WHO seem fraught with problems. Bureaucracies tend to breed corruption and pencil pushing rather than curing or helping. Lots of flying to conferences instead of working. But our whole system of selling drugs for lots of money is so wrong headed that we are incapable of smart responses to emergencies. Corruption in health systems

      1. a different chris

        Can’t we do both? I mean, we can put a man on the moon… oh, I see.

        The past I grew up in was truly another country.

      2. Ignacio

        Anti-viral drugs are quite expensive, have secondary effects and in general only tried in very severe cases when there is not an alternative. To my knowledge these have been tried extensively in China to treat Covid-19, and in Italy and I can recall only an example that was deemed promising but without extensive proof.

      3. DrUncleSteve

        No, an effective vaccine that is safe does not (yet) exist. I don’t know which agency said it (probably CDC) but we’re looking at AT LEAST 1 year before a clinically tested vaccine is deemed safe and effective.

      4. xkeyscored

        Vaccines do not exist yet, and won’t be available for quite a while.
        Remdesivir looks promising. I can’t find any side-effects listed, though perhaps someone more knowledgeable can. It “confuses viral RNA polymerase and evades proofreading by viral exoribonuclease (ExoN), causing a decrease in viral RNA production.” – Wikipedia

        It also appears to be relatively cheap:
        BrightGene’s costs incurred in the development and production of the API [active pharmaceutical ingredient] and preparation is a ballpark CNY5 million renminbi ($717,500). Further expanding production will also demand a projected 10 million renminbi-odd, said Yicai Global.

    2. TheMog

      That would be something those evil communists in Cuba would do, no? Heck, they may even offer to send doctors.

      Can’t have that, sorry.

      1. chuckster

        I was thinking about Jonas Salk the other day. He had to be a child of the 30s-50s. If he had been born after 1980, polio vaccine would have made him as rich as Bloomberg. He gave away the patent for polio. That’s freaking amazing.

    3. Matthew

      I’m not old but my lungs are a disaster. I’ve already told my wife to stop paying everything but her student loans if I get it because we’re headed for bankruptcy court anyway (or at least she is).

    4. AdamK

      This IS a good opportunity to raise the subject of universal healthcare. There is no way you can face such a threat relying on markets. Up until now haven’t heard anything from Barnie’s campaign regarding this. This is why healthcare should be a social service accessible to each and every one of the community for the sake of ALL.

      1. Young

        How effective is the flu vaccine?

        1. What percentage of the population get vaccinated annually?
        2. What percentage of people who died got the shot?

  4. Isotope_C14

    “New York Is Making Its Own Coronavirus Test After The CDC’s Test Has Repeatedly Failed”

    Perhaps we just need to defund the government *more*…

    Markets solve everything!

  5. Wukchumni

    Socks, underwear require ‘additional security’ at this Minnesota Walmart Bring Me The News
    At my Wal*Mart, mens underwear has been behind locked glass for about 6 months now, but not womens underwear. Most visible homeless you see around these parts are men, maybe women make up 10% of the numbers. You’re free to fondle socks though, for the time being.

    Batteries are genderless, so the whole array of AA to D is locked up tight as a drum also.

    On my last foray there, I asked the ‘exiter’ (there are no greeters here, only employees that verify you’ve paid for the goodies in your shopping cart) if it wouldn’t be easier just to put the entire store behind locked glass?, which prompted a wry smile from somebody that I feel sure didn’t think they’d grow up to be what they are now, a lowly paid detective, of sorts.

    1. Carolinian

      Guess I must have a low security version of Walmart. Only a few items like ammo and car radios are behind glass. It may have to do with whether the store is downtown-ish (those homeless) or out in the car burbs.

      1. Wukchumni

        The nearest Wal*Mart to my mom in Whittier, Ca. has all the Coleman tents under locked glass, but not one other item in the sporting goods dept, which might lead you to think that enthusiasts are taking them to the great outdoors beyond the building w/o paying.

      2. Matthew

        The discount market down the street from us (I’m in Tukwila/SeaTac for those to whom that means something, for the rest, it’s not a nice area) has toothbrushes and Advil behind glass. It definitely depends on where the store is.

        1. chuckster

          We have Tide and other bottles of laundry detergent under lock and key. We are getting closer and closer to the old Soviet Union every day.

    2. WhoaMolly

      Men’s underwear behind locked sliding windows in local WalMart. When the staff unlocks the window, they take the package of underwear to a checkout clerk. You pick it up when you pay.

      When I asked why all this rigarmarole the staff person said that people steal the underwear if it’s on display.

      A pretty good sign of desperation. Having to risk jail to steal clean, functional underwear.

      1. Carolinian

        Yes given Walmart’s chintzy staffing it’s unlikely they’d go to all that trouble unless people were stealing socks and underwear.

        1. Wukchumni

          It’s weird announcing to the person at the register that she’s holding a nine-pack of tighty whities for you, lemme tellya.

          1. notabanktoadie

            Security precautions vary from store to store, I’ve noticed – depending, I guess, on how desperate/thieving the local population is. Here in the deep South Bible Belt (excluding the corrupt Gulf Coast), very little is behind locked counters. I guess we’re just not as sophisticated as other regions. /sarc

            Yep, them 9-packs are convenient ways to put off going to the laundrymat – especially if they’re replacing rags anyway.

            But don’t buy them tight! Ouch!

            1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

              Re “But don’t buy them tight!”

              If I had a son the one piece of advice I would proffer is just that; medium instead of small and so on.

              I imagine that most of our leaders (male of course) have servants to deal with that kind sensitive purchase.
              In other times clothing has been poisoned, but if one likes to deliver revenge slowly in a manner that will not get one’s collar seriously felt, shreddies that oh!-so very slowly shrink when exposed to body heat could be an excellent alternative. A kick-starter project is called for.


      2. False Solace

        At my local WalMart the baby formula is not only behind glass in a locked case, it’s located in the most visible part of the store, next to checkout.

        It’s pretty common to lock up baby formula though. I’ve seen it done at other stores.

        St. Cloud MN (the town mentioned in the article) is a town located in a rural part of central Minnesota. It has several universities and colleges and is home to some call centers. I went to school there. One of the popular ways we made rent after graduation was to go donate blood plasma. This is not illegal in the US, as it is in other countries.

  6. dearieme

    Commenter at Marginal Revolution easily shocked shocker!

    “the CDC is in charge of coronavirus testing. That’s currently a national disgrace. The CDC has managed to run less than 500 tests in the last 6 weeks. They’ve botched the chemical reagents on the large volume kit they tried to roll out. And the FDA/CDC has, for the most part, refused to allow hospitals to run their own tests.

    I’m shocked that reporters at the press conference weren’t all over that issue.”

      1. MLTPB


        1. Issues with false negatives?

        2. Do you go back every day to get tested? (Did you go anywhere in the last 24 hours?)

          1. MLTPB

            Loop1. The questions were about Koreans. They would care, presumably, as they were being tested. Not everything is about we or us, no?

            2. If we were ever at the same stage as Korea, hopefully there would be similarly levels of testing.

      2. dearieme

        The NHS is using “drive through” tests too. It seems an excellent idea to me.

        Normally the Guardian would whine that it’s so unfair to people who don’t have a car but I’ve not seen anyone report that yet. No doubt it’s on its way.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Debtors of the World, Unite!”

    I think that I understand the different approaches to higher education between Bernie and Warren here. Bernie want to turn back the clock and make higher education free as a public investment for the future of the country. Warren, who “has more limited plans, but has built her career—from a law professor specializing in bankruptcy” probably has a plan to remove the Biden law that a student cannot rid of that debt through bankruptcy. So the astronomical fees and charges will still apply but “means-tested” students will be able to discharge that debt through bankruptcy in court. Eventually. One day. In the fullness of time.

    1. Carla

      OK, so here are the choices: you can go to a tuition-free college and graduate without debt, or you can pay tuition and graduate with a load of debt that you can’t pay, but it’s okay because you can always go bankrupt.

      Hhhmm, this is a tough one. Which would I choose? It must be a trick question. /s

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Left behind in these debates are all those students who don’t graduate, many times for no fault of their own (sick child, sick parent, etc). Tuition-free for the win!

      2. Big River Bandido

        Just a correction: no, you cannot declare bankruptcy from student loan debt. You are chained to that for the rest of your life.

        Thanks, Joe Biden.

      3. Matthew

        I guess Warren’s supporters actually can’t tell the difference between these plans, because I hear over and over that she and Sanders “want the same things.”

      4. Anon

        Tuition alone is not the biggest cost and driver of student loans. Room and board (food) is the largest cost at public institutions. That is why homelessness is growing in the student population. Many are finding that using the gym showers and the library as daytime sleep quarters as an alternative to high rents (even with four roommates). But it, apparently, also extends the time to graduation.

        1. JBird4049

          “But it, apparently, also extends the time to graduation.”

          How surprising. I have had to start and restart my classes because of an inability to pay for anything. The standard state and federal grants that you get are not enough. I could get loans, but chaining the rest of my life to debt is a non starter. It is frustrating as in theory I could get all the funds I needed to pay for everything, but only at the cost of debt servitude.

          I suspect that many are doing the same, or if they are going to class full time they are doing whatever they can to avoid debt even if it means sleeping in their car.

          So what is your preferred pain?

          1) On again, off again schooling adding, in my case perhaps a decade of fun,
          2) Sleeping in your car or sharing two to a bedroom,
          3) Getting a sugar-daddy/mommy (Don’t laugh.That’s a thing complete with advertised programs),
          4) Become an actual wage slave.

        2. jrs

          +100, talking about all the real issues student face, which are more than just tuition costs (yea 20 years ago that may have been the main problem, but now with students actually being homeless etc. ….). It’s why so much of our politics sounds dated even though Sanders is far more hip than most.

      5. jrs

        Unless they have plans for building more colleges, I don’t think any of the plans work. Given the massive overcrowding of colleges going on in California, unless they are talking building new state colleges, they aren’t talking reality. Existing state colleges can not handle the existing population that wants to be enrolled

        1. JBird4049

          Just because the state built on average a new college or university every 3-5 years (from 1947 to 1965 they built eleven) but hasn’t built a new one since 2002…

    2. Carolinian

      This may have been linked here already. It says that the plan is for Bloomberg to force Sanders into a second ballot and for Warren to become nominee because even the DNC Dems and Bloomberg himself know that he would never be acceptable as a nominee. Warren would then go on to lose because the primary goal is to block Sanders.

      Bernie was here last night for a reportedly enthusiastic crowd of 2000. The local coverage spent some space quizzing attendees about polls alleging Biden recovery. We’ll see what happens and whether Monmouth etc have some ‘splaining to do.

      1. campbeln

        It’d be a whole lot easier if Bernie just came down with the coronavirus, wouldn’t it?!

        Besides… he’s dumb enough to mix with the unwashed masses rather than pre-selected, pre-screened photo-ops, so he really brought this on himself…

        1. jrs

          Well if one is just going to make up theories that is as good a one as any. In a just world the corona virus would get Trump, of course. Too bad we don’t live in one, but hope spring eternal and all that …

      2. jrs

        The article has no evidence for that theory. I don’t say it won’t happen, because I don’t have a crystal ball. If you make enough predictions sooner or later one might be right.

        But it’s just some guy speculating, making stuff up on what could happen.. It’s not that the superdelegates have given us any reason to trust them, but you can’t get from the known knowns, to a whole blown theory without evidence.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    UK says it will consider walking away from Brexit talks in June Guardian (Vlade). Vlade: “My prediction – no FTA. The sides are way too far apart, and don’t seem really that interested in each other anymore. Given covid, we’re in for a rough ride next year, and I’d say that state interventions will be a must. Which doesn’t portend well for Germany, with its abhorrence on state spending and export orientation.”

    I’d agree with Vlade that its looking like no FTA. I don’t think the people behind Boris genuinely think its necessary (the ‘business class’ Tories seem to have been well and truly vanquished), and the EU isn’t too pushed either so long as they can blame it on UK intransigence.

    The mood music I get from those Irish politicians who are well connected with Europe is that they don’t think there will be a deal. The ‘official’ Irish politician class is now too busy trying to form a govenrment to bother, but ex PM John Bruton (who is well connected in Brussels and Washington) was recently quoted at a speech to Irish farmers that they should accept there will probably be no FTA and they essentially have a year to prepare. He’s not the sort to give that sort of warning unless he genuinely believed it.

    And on the subject of Germany and state spending, its often forgotten that the Germans are very good at integrating automatic counter cyclical measures into their budgets, hence they practice Keynesianism without admitting to it. The trick for the EU may be to take this approach rather than fighting for a one-off injection, which the Ortholiberals will see as a bad precedent.

    1. Ignacio

      I agree on both: no FTA and Germany. Germans are much better at imposing these ortholiberal limits to other countries than doing the same to themselves. The moment they see a couple of job losses their reaction will be stark and austerity will be set aside. They will try to hide it under some constitutional norm.

      1. chuck roast

        The fact that Deutsche Bank continues to stumble about amongst the living is ample proof of this point.

  9. Louis Fyne

    When a Pandemic Meets a Personality Cult Paul Krugman, NYT.

    for family blog’s sake, Yes Orange Man Bad….yet Trump isn’t in the Oval Office personally ordering/vetoing every coronavirus test. Just saying.

    the federal response to a pandemic should already have been on the shelf with adequate stockpiles of masks and equipment on hand under the Bush, Obama, and Trump admins. and practiced multiple times.

    Heck, I watched “The Stand” (a flu Apocalypse miniseries) in the Bill Clinton years!

    This is a failure of Bush-Obama-Trump admins and Congress that the US doesn’t have enough masks/respirators for medical professionals—let alone the populace. It’s a failure of the someone-somewhere in the professional bureaucracy at the CDC-HHS-Homeland Security that US response has been lethargic.

    A (metaphorical) pox on all the houses of inept bureaucracy.

    1. Bill Carson

      A (metaphorical) pox on all the houses of inept bureaucracy.

      Which is the reason many people oppose Medicare for All. They’re not wrong.

      1. False Solace

        That’s weird because M4A eliminates bureaucracy currently infesting private insurance and standard Medicare. That’s a big reason it saves so much money.

        Guy came back from China and suspected he had CV. Went to the ER and told them he wanted to be tested. He insisted on getting the flu test first. His bill was $3200. After insurance he only paid $1400. How many people have read that story and solemnly sworn to never get tested. The US is so effed.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Trump was not told coronavirus-infected Americans would be flown home from cruise ship”

    ‘They decided to bring the infected passengers back home on the same planes but place them in an isolation area.’

    I think that Trump has a point here. Not long ago we saw images of this container that could be used to bring infected people by airplane but without risking infecting the crew or the other passengers here. This was never even used here. From what I heard, what happened was that those 14 infected people were separated from the other 300-odd passengers & crew and then plastic sheeting was erected between them using duct tape to keep it all in place. And before this was happening, all those waiting people were grouped together aboard buses where the infected among them were unintentionally spreading the love.

    1. curlydan

      And how is plastic sheeting going to help with air circulation? Did the plane have two distinct air circulation systems? If I had been one of the purported “uninfected” I would have been a bit freaked out taking a 10-15 hour plane ride with a bunch of infected people in the back.

      Maybe the State Department people in charge watched Rambo too often. Can’t leave anyone behind?

  11. KLG

    OK, as a break from Biden, MayoPete, Senator Professor Warren et al., into the scientific weeds here.

    No, those amphibians cannot “glow in the dark.” Fireflies and a few other insects and their larva, some worms, some fungi, some bacteria, some fish that culture bacteria on their bodies and some fish that don’t, many dinoflagellates, many jellyfish, and most ctenophores do glow in the dark because they are bioluminescent. The frogs are fluorescent. At the atomic level the nature of light emission in both fluorescence and bioluminescence is the same (relaxation from the first excited singlet state produces a photon; relaxation from the triplet state produces the longer-lived phosphorescence used on watch dials) but the energy source is different. A chemical reaction catalyzed by an enzyme produces the energy for light production in bioluminescence. The source of energy in fluorescence/phosphorescence is the light that shines on the fluorophore/phosphor: Light at lower wavelength/higher energy is shined on a complex molecule and is re-emitted at a higher wavelength/lower energy. For example, a fluorophore that absorbs blue light will typically emit green light. Still, it will be interesting to see what this means for the frogs. Maybe their eyes can see it “in the dark (very low light)” as the piece states. And no, “biofluorescence” is not particularly a discovery of something new. Shine a black light on living and nonliving things in the dark and some of them do seem to glow, as those of us of a certain age who tacked black light posters to our dorm room walls knew.

    And with that, I am staying away from politics for the rest of this Friday. Go Bernie!

    Short book review: I read Andrew Bacevich’s new book last night, The Age of Illusions. Highly recommended for its explanation of post-Cold War American Politics, but the rot predates the fall of the Berlin Wall by a good 15-20 years.


    1. Alfred

      Thanks for mentioning the book by Bacevich. But for this blog and your post, I doubt I’d have heard of it out here in the wasteland. I’ve put it on my list.

    2. xkeyscored

      As usual, it’s a catchy headline that’s at fault. The rest of the article makes it fairly clear that amphibians exhibit biofluorescence, as does the paper it’s based on, “Salamanders and other amphibians are aglow with biofluorescence.”
      Pretty pictures nonetheless!

    3. Oregoncharles

      The current Harper’s magazine has a long article by Bacevich – probably an extract from the book. Paywalled, I’m afraid, but available at your handy local library.

      The issue before that has a long, thought-provoking article on “Trumpism without Trump” (I really had no idea), called “national conservatives.” Some very interesting echos of topics we discuss here, but the author wanders off into personalities. I guess those are always important in politics. I’ll post a review if I’m feeling ambitious; but again, there’s the library.

    1. Eclair

      A friend took a job at an Amazon warehouse, just after the holidays. He’s the dance director for our group, as well as being a local expert on regional dances, an frequent instructor, dancing a couple of nights a week. So, in pretty good physical shape. He immediately came down with a flu, which he tried to soldier through. Then, two weeks ago, he injured his back, due to repetitive lifting of packages at the warehouse. He now cannot work, is on disability and undergoing intensive physical therapy for his injury. Sadly, he informs us that he will not be dancing, at all, at least for the next four month. As so many of us in Seattle have taken to repeating …. Thank you, Jeff Bezos!

  12. Ignacio

    New York Is Making Its Own Coronavirus Test After The CDC’s Test Has Repeatedly Failed Buzzfeed. Institutional rot exposed under stress.

    I think we can blame this, at least in part, to the lack of transparency of China and it’s HC system. More collaboration between HC systems would have been a must to develop better diagnostics. Where is the trouble here? Is it the NAT kit is bogus? Is it the sampling, conservation and processing protocol? Or is it just this virus is quite a slippery bug?

    I would emphasize the last two questions because I believe the kit must be quite sensitive and specific detecting viral RNA. Sampling and storing protocols are critical for virus detection and simple swabbing may not be adequate. The more extensive the sample the better. It might be this virus establishes infections without or with brief, low and or time varying acute phases that are no so easy to detect and stay persistent and undetectable in many instances. Developing new detection kits in NY could proof useless if so.

    1. ptb

      it might just be NY state handing out $ to one of Cuomo’s pet institutions. I mean I really hope not. But if you want to see a spectacular waste of several $B, visit the Suny Polytech campus in Albany… all new buildings, a duplicate university administration set up across the street from Suny Albany, astronomically expensive microchip fab equipment like its silicon valley, no students, mostly idle. Worked on a “chip based” (not really) diagnostic project w/ a startup housed there, 99% marketing fluff, no interest in the details of the implementation, crap for data, but their partners in pharma buy into it anyway. I really really really hope its not that.

    2. Ignacio

      Sorry about replying myself but I think this news is reflective of administrative panic rather than reflexive questioning of the methods. Why not, for instance sampling the eyes besides nasopharyngeal exudates. A Chinese report indicated red eyes as one of the most frequent symptoms. Let’s blame it to de CDC inability to develop a reliable test!

      1. Watt4Bob

        The public health system in the USA is under constant pressure from the forces of privatization, which as we all know involve budget cuts and then complaints about poor service which leads to more budget cuts, and promises that the private sector could really do a better job…

        …rinse and repeat.

        Then there is the “Let no crisis go to waste.” perspective/ideology which leads to Pelosi’s reflexive request that the corona test should be affordable, subtext being obvious opposition to free.

        CDC is a target, as is the VA medical system, Social Security, Medicare/Medicade, and thanks to Brexit, American ‘investors‘ have their eyes on Britain’s NHS.

        All these ‘opportunities’ point to a healthy US economy going forward, so Trump is incensed that the stock market is slumping. /snk

        Just when you think things couldn’t get worse, you realize that the fools want to make money off the potential pandemic they haven’t yet decided to acknowledge exists.

        And the first thing they can agree on is that you can’t go wrong attacking the CDC.

        1. Ignacio

          Thank you W4B. Both ptb’s and your commentary go in the same direction and I concede that this explanation can be more right than the panic I suggested.

          1. Watt4Bob

            Why not both, opportunistic leverage of the crisis to make money, and administrative panic concerning market reaction and possible impact on election odds?

            I don’t think Trump put a lot of thought into his appointment of Pence, reeks of that administrative panic you mentioned.

      2. cnchal

        I am sad to report all communication about the pandemic is now beong managed by the vice president’s orfice. The CDC’s lips are sealed.

        In other news, the only way to catch this thing is, nobody moves for a month.

        For those that say it is impossible, expect impossible cubed if that doesn’t happen.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “The Pentagon promises to use artificial intelligence for good, not evil”

    The Pentagon initially thought about using Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics-

    ‘A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. And robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.’

    But then they realized that being a military organization, that this might not work out very well. I don’t know what they will come up with but something tells me that one day Maxwell Smart, aka Agent 86, will be saying-

    “Ah yes! If only they’d used their artificial intelligence for niceness instead of evil!”

    1. rd

      It all depends on your definition of “good” and “evil”. If destroying the village to save it is “good”, then it leaves a lot of latitude for decision-making. If not destroying the village results in “evil”, then it really allows for a lot of latitude.

      1. periol

        the Pentagon pledges that its AI efforts will be:
        1) Responsible,
        2) Equitable,
        3) Traceable,
        4) Reliable and
        5) Governable

        It’s funny, the only mention of good and evil is in the headline. The Pentagon was careful not to say anything close to that lol. In fact, the headline *should* read that the Pentagon DOES NOT promise that AI will be used for good and not evil.

        Also, considering it’s the Pentagon, that list reads more like everything military AI will not be. Equitable? For whom? Reliable? That’s a joke.

    2. xkeyscored

      “Our intentions are clear: We will do what it takes to ensure that the U.S. military lives up to our nation’s ethical values while maintaining and strengthening America’s technological advantage,” Shanahan said.
      How does that square with the radical transformation implied in the headline?

    3. Mel

      IMHO, when we start running Artificial Intelligences for serious, we will run them unsupervised. You don’t save the cost of a human decider if you need a human decider to evaluate the AI’s decisions. So we’ll have no idea what they’re doing.

      1. Wukchumni

        Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest.


  14. Clark

    Granted that PK always is on the attack, but how, exactly, could we (the political class and ordinary Americans) “root for the administration to succeed” when it’s not doing a single sane thing to address the crisis?

    1. Brindle

      Yes, for the “administration to succeed” we need to believe there is no crisis and it will disappear come April.

        1. rd

          He is absolutely correct. The 1918-19 flu epidemic did just go away as it mutated into something less fatal.

          Of course, it took out 50 million people before it became benign. But that is a small price to pay for it becoming an innocuous disease through government inaction.

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            I recall back in the 80’s thinking that Mr. Cohen was being OTT with certain songs – The Future, Democracy & Everybody Knows. Not to mention that line from The Tower of Song : ” The rich will have their channels in the bedrooms of the poor “.

            You live & learn I suppose.

            1. xkeyscored

              I love him, RIP, and find him truly inspiring, not in the least OTT.

              The birds they sang
              At the break of day
              Start again
              I heard them say
              Don’t dwell on what
              Has passed away
              Or what is yet to be
              Yeah the wars they will
              Be fought again
              The holy dove
              She will be caught again
              Bought and sold
              And bought again
              The dove is never free

              1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                Yep love him too & the OTT only applied to my naivete in relation to how the world was tuning up. His songs never appear to age for me & are all receptacles for many of my life’s intense happenings.

                And Yes –

                ” Ring the bells that still can ring
                Forget your perfect offering
                There is a crack a crack in everything
                That’s how the light gets in “..

                1. hoki haya

                  Great living songs, ones that can be instrumental to one’s life. I think I’d only place Townes Van Zandt alongside him in terms of English-language sung poetry of the last century.

                  confined to sex, we pressed against
                  the limits of the sea.
                  i saw there were
                  no oceans left
                  for scavangers like me.
                  i made it to
                  the forward deck
                  and blessed our remnant fleet,
                  then consented
                  to be wrecked
                  a thousand kisses deep.

                  Thanks for the reminder.

                  1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                    I’m kinda skirting around the edges of TVZ, picked up If I needed you from the film Crazy Heart & stumbled onto Dead Flowers while on a youtube ramble, while also picking up a cover of Waiting around to die which i love by The Be Good Tanya’s that came from the soundtrack of the film Hell or High Water.

                    I shall investigate further.

  15. zagonostra

    >Walmart Security

    I also noticed that at the local Dollar Store they lock up shaving razors…

    Good indicators of how a substantial subset of a local population is doing when they have to steal to acquire basics necessities…but hey we’re told the economy is great and we’re number 1, USA!,USA!,USA!…

    A company spokesperson told Bring Me The News that each store has a theft threshold for specific products, and if a threshold is reached, the store will take measures to curtail shoplifting.

    In St. Cloud’s case, socks and underwear have met the threshold and they’ve been locked up for approximately three months.

  16. Wukchumni

    Supposed to break century+ temp records for Bakersfield & Fresno, both in the low 80’s today.

    We’ve gotten only 6 inches of rain in our usual atypical allotment of 20, here in the foothills.

    There haven’t been many wildfires all that early in the summer around these parts, we had one barely into June 3 years ago, and it seemed as if every firefighter in a 200 mile radius showed up to combat it, something like 550 of them battling a 350 acre blaze, which was put away wet promptly. We were the only ‘game in town’ in the state, and the firefighters were fresh and eager. It was up a steep hill dotted with oak trees and hadn’t seen a fire in donkey’s years, and was quite instructive to me, in that said oaks did just fine in the aftermath of fire that spread on the ground largely, it was all in a days work for them, ho hum.

    If the lack of precipitation continues apace, you wonder if the stage is being set for something similar to Aussie, explosive early summer fires, with everything that grew so expansively last summer with the surfeit of snow on high from a remarkable winter, all of the sudden being bone dry.

    1. MLTPB

      The warmer weather might explain the so-far relative calm in CA, versus say, Italy, where the temperature in Milan for Sat ranges from 42 F to 52F roughly.

  17. Mike Allen

    Just when you thought NPR couldn’t get any worse. OMFG, the interview with Bank of America founder this morning. Mental picture of him in a Colonel Sanders outfit, standing front of a slave auction. Sorry, could not find a link.

      1. Wukchumni

        Indeed, it was originally called The Bank of Italy

        And here’s what National Banknotes from the institution looked like:$5_National_Bank_Note_from_Bank_of_Italy_NT%26SA,_San_Francisco.jpg

        Over 13,000 different banks had their own currency issued from the 1860’s to the 1930’s (it all had a standard design aside from the name and number of a given bank) and it really was the workhorse financially of the country, not the Gold Standard as is sometimes imagined. (the only currency exchangeable for all that glitters being Gold Certificate banknotes)

      2. Jim A.

        You’re both right. NationsBank, created in 1991 by the merger of several banks bought out BankAmerica in 1998 and renamed itself after the company that it bought.

          1. Wukchumni

            The west-bound train stopped at San Rosario on time at 8.20 A.M. A man with a thick black-leather wallet under his arm left the train and walked rapidly up the main street of the town. There were other passengers who also got off at San Rosario, but they either slouched limberly over to the railroad eating-house or the Silver Dollar saloon, or joined the groups of idlers about the station.

            Indecision had no part in the movements of the man with the wallet. He was short in stature, but strongly built, with very light, closely- trimmed hair, smooth, determined face, and aggressive, gold-rimmed nose glasses. He was well dressed in the prevailing Eastern style. His air denoted a quiet but conscious reserve force, if not actual authority.

            After walking a distance of three squares he came to the centre of the town’s business area. Here another street of importance crossed the main one, forming the hub of San Rosario’s life and commerce. Upon one corner stood the post-office. Upon another Rubensky’s Clothing Emporium. The other two diagonally opposing corners were occupied by the town’s two banks, the First National and the Stockmen’s National. Into the First National Bank of San Rosario the newcomer walked, never slowing his brisk step until he stood at the cashier’s window. The bank opened for business at nine, and the working force was already assembled, each member preparing his department for the day’s business. The cashier was examining the mail when he noticed the stranger standing at his window.

            “Bank doesn’t open ’til nine,” he remarked curtly, but without feeling. He had had to make that statement so often to early birds since San Rosario adopted city banking hours.

            “I am well aware of that,” said the other man, in cool, brittle tones. “Will you kindly receive my card?”

            The cashier drew the small, spotless parallelogram inside the bars of his wicket, and read:

            J.F.C Nettlewick National Bank Examiner


      3. KFritz

        Sorry. A.P. Gianinni was born in San Jose, CA, USA, and founded the Bank of Italy in 1904–as is clearly stated in the link. He came to SF on the day of the 1906 quake to oversee operations to make sure the bank kept functioning. It did. Bank of America came in the 1920s. This is a thumbnail, obviously lacking in detail.

    1. MLTPB

      Every country is unique. In less than a week, cases in each of
      Korea, Italy and Iran are more than over a month worth of cases in each of Hong
      Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia.

      Is it due the warmer weather in the latter group?

      Are we looking forward to Gloabl Warming(Up) in the northern hemisphere in the coming months?

      Do we pray, like Akhenaten, to the disc of sun, the creator, giver of life?

    2. xkeyscored

      The Nigerian case is an Italian who’d been in Milan.
      Cambodia hasn’t had any reported cases since the Westerdam woman, who subsequently tested negative.
      Minimum temperature here (Sisophon) this year: 20 Celsius.
      Maximum: 36 (so says Accuweather; I clocked 39 a couple of weeks or so ago).

      Maybe this thing doesn’t like it hot. We’ll see soon enough.

      1. MLTPB

        Some observations.

        One would expect a country’s main entry points to be more vulnerable.

        In Italy, one might expect Rome, or the city of Milan itself. Instead, we see the smaller towns.

        In Iran, it started in Qom, and not Tehran.

        In Korea, it is Daegu, not Soeul.

        Have we been lucky, or are we just not aware of the total picture?

        1. xkeyscored

          Maybe. Or it could be that people pass through points of entry fairly quickly, and do their more intimate socialising elsewhere.

  18. Craig H.

    > Socks, underwear require ‘additional security’ at this Minnesota Walmart

    They reported it happens to bacon too. They didn’t say where. Google led me to r/trashy and I read a hilarious thread but I didn’t find out where they keep the bacon locked up at the walmart. Someday soon there will be a Sociology phd thesis on what walmart locks up if it hasn’t happened already yet.

    Weirdest thing I have seen: hair conditioner.
    Weirdest thing I have heard of: laundry detergent.
    Weirdest thing I have seen photographic evidence for on the internet: socks.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Australia’s coronavirus pandemic plan: mass vaccinations and stadium quarantine”

    You notice the priorities in the first sentence. It says “with 40% of the workforce sidelined by illness or caring for family.” Not what percentage of the population but the percentage of the workforce. Scotty from Marketing hung his reputation on having the budget “in the black” by July but between the bushfires and Caronavirus, that is all gone but he will not admit it.

    After his performance during the bushfires, I have no confidence in him at all. At least he won’t be able to shoot off overseas for a holiday as everywhere will be in lock-down by then. I would like to see his face in Parliament when he says that everything is under control as you hear some of them coughing and wiping their foreheads.

    1. xkeyscored

      I also wonder what vaccinations are being planned. Long, long queues (a year or more) while one is developed? Use the Australian population for clinical trials to figure out if proposed vaccines are safe and effective? Or administer placebo vaccines?

    2. MLTPB

      Weren’t there stories about FEMA camps in the deserts?

      Military bases, in dry, arid, warm places, like Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, seem better bets than the one in Northen California near Sacarmento.

      1. xkeyscored

        The cruise ships’ll have pay people to enjoy a fortnight in a petri dish if FEMA starts offering a range of boutique quarantine locations to choose between.

  20. QuarterBack

    Re the WaPo article on bringing in experts to confront the COVID-19 virus, I found it interesting that they chose a Fire Department metaphor to introduce their thesis, because the approach that they are countering is similar to a Volunteer Fire Department. The theory being is why build a large expensive staff to be idle most of the time, when you can staff up with capable people when needed? Further, in the case of epidemics or pandemics, the theory is you can bring in much more qualified personal than you would otherwise be able to retain. The article presents the argument that the needed experts would not be willing “to quit their jobs” to address such a short term urgency. From my experience working with the Federal Government, I would suggest that that this assumption of how the personnel would be acquired does not match what would actually happen.

    The experts would most likely be brought on, not individually, but through emergency contract vehicles with their parent corporations or academic institutions. Therefore, these people would not have to quit their jobs, and their parent organizations would welcome the PR bragging rights (and the income) by being able to say that it was their employees that were the ones that the USG called upon to save the day. This contracting approach would negate issues related to Federal hiring, wages, benefits, and the eventual separation after the urgency ceases. There may be many other reasons to question this type of approach, but my point is that the arguments presented in the article don’t seem valid from my experience.

    1. a different chris

      Also if said organizations weren’t so sure of the impending catastrophe, they might not actually send the people you would like them to send.

      My Dad told me a great quote once, and I can’t quite remember it exactly unfortunately but I’m sure it’s on the Internets somewhere, regarding what happens when an outsider (say a boss of another division) comes into a technical organization and demands the “absolute best” for his pet project.

      I need to google a bit, it was pretty funny…

    2. marym

      Whether or not just-in-time staffing is a feasible alternative for assembling expertise, dismantling the existing system and defunding programs without bothering to build any structure for the alternative leaves the country more vulnerable. Building the possible process you describe in your second paragraph would take some effort to build, even if calling up of staffing were then achievable efficiently.

      In my opinion, an assessment of a Trump approach that dismantles structures or eliminates staff ought to include not only acknowledging whatever was wrong with the original approach, but whether Trump is making things better or worse by replacing them with nothing.

      1. QuarterBack

        I can’t speak directly on CDC, but I would believe that the process I described is already in place and likely has been for a decade. There are blanket “ indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity” (IDIQ) contingency contracting mechanisms mostly dormant through the USG for emergency or urgent and unexpected demands.

        With just in time approaches, the trick is determining the correct balance of on hand inventory/personnel with available resources. Having resources in reserve adds a lot of costs for holding that reserve, and these reserves (if constrained, like the number of doctors) can also have the effect of denying the rest of the market from access to those resources. The necessary assumption is that a sufficient supply of resources would be ready and able to step in. I would bet too that the experts that would be brought in are already known to, and in contact with (in unofficial advisory capacities), the CDC scientists and leadership.

        CORVID-19 is a complicated and high risk space, but these approaches are not novel, nor untested.

        1. marym

          Thanks for the additional insight. I’m generally inclined to favor a robust civil service and even some continuity among professionals appointed from one administration to the next, though without expertise to say if that would be the best approach in any particular circumstance. I guess we’ll see if Trump or anyone in his administration has the ability to tap into such a process.

      2. chuck roast

        Donny is almost certainly heading for his own personal, “Brownie, your doing a hell of a job!” moment.

    3. mle detroit

      That makes sense, and I’d expect the privatizers to go for it too. Those heroic “dollar a year” men who went to Washington during WWII were still being paid their corporate salaries while there, in the expectation of production contracts to come. (Lacey, The Washington War)

    4. LifelongLib

      Agree. I was employed in an arrangement like that several decades ago. The federal government contracted with the State of Washington for the state to provide personnel for a federal program. The State was my official employer and paid my salary but I worked at a federal office and was supervised by federal employees.

  21. timbers

    “Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders NYT. Worth reading in full…”

    This might the best solution for Dem Leaders:

    Cancel all election related gatherings like primaries and caucuses, immediately, to safe guard against Bernie winning…err…I mean Coronsvirus spreading.

    That will make it impossible for Bernie to get a majority of delegates and more palatable for Dem Leaders to pick the nominee of their choice with less blow back then if they wait and Bernie scores more victories.

    Then, the only thing they will need to worry about is fighting amongst their corporate selves.

    1. a different chris

      >is fighting amongst their corporate selves.

      Bingo! And that is their problem. That’s arguably – I won’t argue it in full, but it’s at least one input – what gave Trump the Republican nomination. All the “elites” were squabbling over the candidates that would best elevate them and Trump just, you know, went to the voters.

      What an idea. Never occurred to them.

    2. jefemt

      So, if superdelegates exercise their right to vote as they see fit, sort of like a pre-electoral college rabble-error workaround, what is to prevent a voter in November from doing the same thing? Its an individual voter’s sacred right, correct?

      I imagine there may be at least one person in a non-critical low-population conservative state that may say, Not voting for Trump, Not voting for Biden (or whoever gets the Dim nod). I’m writing in Bernie. There may be a quite a few who do this, regardless of where they live. And in a 50-50 divided nation, their principled vote for Bernie could hand things to Trump. Even if Bernie encourages folks to support the party candidate.

      And then Bernie, like Jill Stein and Bernie in 2016, will suffer the wrath of main-stream Dims as Trump gets re-elected, as they did when Hillary improbably lost to Donald J. Trump in 2016 in the Electoral College.

      Anyone in their right mind knows Bernie will not be able to get the sausage machine to enact and pass much of what he believes and would like to lead America toward. But he IS a stark difference to the Dim and Repug main stream two sides of the same coin, and America seems receptive to a meaningful attempt to go in a critically needed new direction.

      The arrogance of the ‘leadership’ class is galling, and may face a very real backlash.

      1. Samuel Conner

        If Sanders is denied the nomination by the machination of the Demigarch class, perhaps…

        Find an “incorporated in US prior to 1985” corporation that is willing to change its legal name to “Bernie Sanders” and run that in every state under a 3rd party, or as a write-in. Perhaps there are some moribund public entities of sufficient vintage floating around the ‘pink sheets’ that could be acquired for this purpose.

        Corporations have many of the rights of natural persons. I’m not aware that it has yet been established that they don’t have the right to run for public office.

        Appoint the live human Sanders as Chairman and CEO.

        Break out the popcorn.

  22. thoughtful person

    Re:”New York Is Making Its Own Coronavirus Test After The CDC’s Test Has Repeatedly Failed” Buzzfeed. Institutional rot exposed under stress

    In addition to being woefully unprepared for this epidemic or the next, the back up plan is secrecy and go die. CDC and Gov’t scientists can no longer talk to the press without permission. Afterall, protecting share value is paramount.

    1. rd

      Its working!

      The S&P 500 is only down 3.3% this morning and the Global Dow is only down 6.65%. Just imagine how bad it could be if they had not put the communication lid on.

  23. cornball


    I’ve been closely following the virus story since the start. (How long has this been in the press, 6 or 7 weeks??) It seemed obvious to me almost from the very start where this was going, towards pandemic territory. Humanity has been steps behind the advance of the virus from the beginning. Along the way we’ve been watching, time and again, bureaucratic and institutional confusion and inertia. Haven’t they heard of Murphy’s Law?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just to show you that every cloud has a silver lining, Coronavirus might lead to cheap airline tickets! Airlines in China are selling tickets for as low as $4 during the Coronavirus outbreak and the article suggests that as flights from Seattle to San Francisco average about $US150 dollars, you might be able to get a future ticket for that route for just $US5-

      The invisible hand of the markets at work again!

      1. a different chris

        Isn’t that so wack? All the financing and hedging and cross-betting and everything that goes on in our completely family-blogged world of our betters means that it’s better to fly the plane at an sure loss than to just leave it on the ground.

      2. Wukchumni


        Why does this cheap flight prospect sound like a modern-day version of being shanghaied, plus can it be combined with a $249 week long Caribbean Coronavirus cruise, and a bungy jump utilizing a frayed rope over a steep gully, as a package deal?

      3. WobblyTelomeres

        Just got promo email from Amtrak. 50% off. When it rains, it pours. OTOH, perhaps they will run on time with the reduced freight traffic.

      4. c_heale

        Only in the very short term. More likely to lead to reduced size/bankrupt airlines and then more expensive tickets.

        1. Wukchumni

          There’s a bunch of photos of near empty domestic flights in the Daily Mail, not sure if the airlines will survive this w/o being bailed out again.

    2. Wukchumni

      Typhoid Mary used to be an outlier, now everyone par avian could be a viral smuggler. I’d mentioned previously how the San Gabriel Valley in L.A. had become a mecca for either 2nd homes or primary residency of Chinese from the PRC. I’d guess the elementary school I attended is 75% Asian now, read Chinese-American.

      A neighbor next to my mom was a Chinese movie star agent, who was bi-coastal, coming & going to China all the time, quite the gap between coasts, ha!

      So many possibilities for spreading something that emanated from China, and yet were sticking to just 15 in country cases.

      1. MLTPB

        There are about 14 cases or so in Canada.

        I think, geographically, economically and socially, we are more similar than many other countries. European nations are an ocean away.

        If they have 14 and CA (?) has 15 in country cases, that’s not too far off.

        Unless Canada is also suspect. Then both sets of numbers are off.

        1. Wukchumni

          Unfortunate Cookie Saying:

          “Do you really believe your present leaders care 1 iota about your citizenry, except in bed?”

          Unlucky number: R0 2

  24. Ignacio

    RE: Apple CEO optimistic about China putting coronavirus under control Xinhua

    A nice take to explain CEO’s speak. He really said that It feels to me that China is getting the coronavirus under control. You look at the numbers coming down day by day, so I’m very optimistic there

    CEO-speak translator:
    To feel = to want
    Optimistic = when the CEO finds numbers that stimulate their wants no matter they are bogus or not.

    1. MLTPB

      Every country looks for its patient zero.

      A region, a city or other divisions can be as vigilant and do the same. Every new case should be watched carefully.

      When there are no new cases, as in zero, not even one case, for say, 24 days, in China, maybe it’s under control.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Peak Prosperity yesterday mentioned that there is significant evidence that in Shandong province (at least), there is some suppression of news of new cases intended to support the ‘go back to work’ call. Unless someone in Beijing gets sense there is every chance that all the good work of the quarantine will be undone by a premature signal that all is well.

      The big problem of course with this virus is that so far it seems it does not confer immunity on past victims – so there is no inbuilt firewall as with flu outbreaks. Until its entirely wiped out, its not under control.

      1. Shonde

        “The big problem of course with this virus is that so far it seems it does not confer immunity on past victims – so there is no inbuilt firewall as with flu outbreaks”

        If this is true, how would a vaccine provide immunity?

        1. Ignacio

          There is a confusion with some cases that have shown positive to test later on negative and then again positive. Is this re-infection? You should first demonstrate that the virus had been really cleared (which is not the same as testing negative) in the first place. My best guess is that when this occurs, the first infection cycle occurred without virus clearing, probably without or with weak immune response, and the disease went for a second acute phase.

          Here you find a discussion on this. First time I read someone talking about persistent infection since the outbreak begun.

          Immune response occurs usually, but may be not always, or in a disorderly and harming way. This is a recent review based on 45.000 Chinese cases. So far the unknowns are overwhelming.

          The vaccine still makes sense.

      2. Ignacio

        As I see it, there is absolutely not good work of the quarantine. It simply doesn’t work except for delaying the full development of the epidemics. It would have been critical in the very beginning but once it spread all around China and burst in Wuhan it was all done. This is of course a comment written with the advantage of knowing better now, but SARS Cov1 gave the leadership the false hope that SARS Cov2 could be similarly contained. By now it should be crystal clear that these are very different beasts epidemiologically. The longer quarantines are held, the larger the damage without solving the problem. Forget about controlling the epidemics, restart factories, educate and rely on personal protection measures particularly for those most endangered, improve HC care.

          1. Ignacio

            It will depend on the extent of quarantine (stay at home, stay in the city or the region). If it is applied to everyone in a region, infected or not, for more than two weeks, and when cases are already appearing outside the region and uncontrolled, it is too harmful and useless IMO.

            1. MLTPB

              Those Italians are to stay in their towns, I believe.

              Given cases further south, does it mean it’s too late, and these towns should be unrestricted now?

        1. False Solace

          Right now the point of quarantines is not to eliminate the virus, it is to slow the spread. The longer it takes for the infection to work its way through the population, the fewer will die. If there are too many sick people at the peak, there won’t be enough hospital beds.

          1. Ignacio

            The point, I think, is to buy time for a vaccine or whatever. But it will take months. Months of quarantine?

  25. jefemt

    Florida won’t release data on coronavirus testing.

    Taking a page from their reviled neighbor to the south? The Reviled Cuban government with whom crucifixion of Bernie is enabled.

    Irony is as thick as cologne on a crowded Italian commuter train on a hot day in Rome.

  26. Jim A.

    You know, when we had a rabbit and a cat, the rabbit would slowly approach the cat, as if to say “Are you my friend?” while the cat slowly backed away with body language that said “WHAT. THE. FUCK. IS. THAT?”

    1. False Solace

      Somewhat different is the interaction between my parents’ 2 year old terrier and my 15 year old grandma cat.

      Cat: Look, just leave me alone. I’ll leave you alone
      Terrier: OMG WHAT IS THIS
      Cat: Just stay cool, okay. It’s cool. Are you cool?
      Terrier: WHAT IS IT A CAT CAT CAT :D :D :D
      Cat: -_-
      Cat: *bonks terrier on the side of the head, before running away*

  27. Samuel Conner

    re: ” Now would be a good time to have a germaphobe President with administrative skills, instead of the President we have.”

    well,… you go to pandemic with the government you have, not the government you wish you had.

    But the chaos might be useful later in the political calendar.


    one does think that this is likely to reinforce the President’s fabled past aversion to shaking hands

  28. Stadist

    Florida won’t release data on coronavirus testing Politico. Because, ya know, totalitarian governments are less effective at fighting epidemics.

    Power of money over anything and everything else is one form of totalitariarism in my humble opinion.

    On more serious note, I think it really boils down to obsession on personal responsibility with everything. Which by itself is kind of extension of market mechanics to life, more commonly known as Neoliberalism. Well, when anything and everything is the personal responsibility of the individual then it obviously can’t be the State’s, or your neigbors, responsibility at the same time.
    This kinds of leads to disintegration of State and Society, where State and Society are just minimum frameworks that enable everyone’s right to exercise their personal freedoms and assume their personal responsibilities.

    By this logic I don’t expect neoliberal leaning states and societies handle pandemics or even crises very well, as the the whole neoliberal dogma of personal responsibilization and individualism reject responsibilities towards the society as large.

    One can see easily how far many western countries are in the neoliberal dogma, the rights and freedoms of individual are more valuable over the health of others (your health being ultimately your personal responsibility), and thus ‘draconian’ quarantines and movement controls are not really even being considered. Some of the ‘forced’ quarantines are only forced in a way that the patient is in bad enough condition that he is unable to exercise his free will.

  29. xkeyscored

    New York Is Making Its Own Coronavirus Test After The CDC’s Test Has Repeatedly Failed Buzzfeed
    “On Thursday, the New York Times reported that the CDC and other federal scientists would no longer be allowed to make public addresses about the outbreak without the approval of Vice President Mike Pence, following President Donald Trump appointing him to oversee all coronavirus-related responses.”
    Thank god for Pence! Or should that be the other way round?
    No high-level government cover-ups in the USA, not with such scientific genius at the helm. All Hail the First Amendment (or else)!

    1. chuckster

      Give her credit. She’s making a list of congresspeople you never want to vote for. It saves you the time you would have spent doing it yourself.

  30. xkeyscored

    The Afghanistan ‘peace deal’ riddle Pepe Escobar, Asia Times (KW).

    Escobar mentions “Everyone familiar with post-9/11 Afghanistan knows that the prime reason for CIA business is the heroin rat line that finances Langley’s black ops, as I exposed in 2017.”
    Following the link to his 2017 article, I read that “US military convoys from the ports of Pakistan were being used to ship the heroin out of Afghanistan — much of it was raw opium — for distribution as their backhaul.”
    I was under the impression that one great achievement of the US invasion and occupation has been the processing of opium into heroin within Afghanistan (what economists call value adding or something), instead of exporting raw opium to its neighbours.

    (From the same 2017 article: He then cornered the key army intelligence operations and CIA at a meeting and asked why no action was taken. The answer was that the goal of the US was winning the hearts and minds of the population and giving them the poppies to grow won their hearts. He was then warned that if he brought this issue up again he would be returned to Australia in a body bag.”)

  31. xkeyscored

    Bolivia dismissed its October elections as fraudulent. Our research found no reason to suspect fraud. WaPo.
    Nothing new here at all, except that the Washington Post has belatedly woken up to the fact. Naked Capitalism was making precisely these points at the time.

  32. Wukchumni

    I’ll admit to being worried in regard to Pence being the Covidczar, but now that Mnuchin is on board, no problemo.

  33. Cuibono

    Highly recommend this Who report.
    Of note is the incredible magnitude of the Chinese response. There is almost no possibility thst we will be able to mount such a response to this crisis if it is needed…

    Short of declaring ML

    1. MLTPB

      We …mounting a response.

      An election coming. This country, our system, is relatively flexible, compared to some others.

      Maybe not this ‘we.’ Perhaps it’s another ‘we’ who will mount a strong response.

      That’s our democracy, imperfect as it is, which allows for martial law declarations, in times of emergency, and what China has done, with or without declaring that, is effectively that.

      So, maybe the current ‘we’ can mount a similar response, with declaring ML.

    2. rtah100


      I rarely say this but the video is worth watching over the transcript. You see Dr Aylward’s calm Canadian demeanour and plain truth. Until I read the mission report, my view was China’s cooking its numbers. Now I suspect they are true.

      The other important material to watch is the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine lecture by the Dean who also went on the WHO mission he is expat HK Chinese so unlikely to be CCP shill. He was very clear: SARS2 arises in clusters, like SARS; China has reduced R0 by 60% by mediaeval quarantine and futuristic contact tracing, so epidemic is petering out; west has a choice whether to take measures, less ruthlessly and effectively, for 40% reduction, flat peak of epidemic, or continue to pussyfoot around. I will post the link.

    3. rtah100

      I hugely seconded this recommendation to read the WHO mission report (and although I prefer reading to watching, it is well worth watching the video, for the Canadian plausibility of Dr Aylward) but then the moderation engine ate my comment. :-(

      Here is the other important WHO mission-related source that everybody should digest, a lecture by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine epidemiologist who was also part of the WHO mission:

      Prior to these reports, I was firmly of the view that China is lying and that a pandemic is inevitable. Having read both mission reports, I am now of the view that China is winning this (although having squashed the epidemic into a suitcase and sat on it at the expense of their economy, it’s not clear how they get off…) and we too have an opportunity to contain this.

      Unfortunately it looks like our governments are going fumble this ball….

  34. antidlc

    Bloomberg Has Hired the Vice Chairs of the Texas and California Democratic Parties

    City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has hired two state Democratic party vice chairs in Super Tuesday states with two of the top three highest number of pledged delegates. Bloomberg hired Texas Democratic Party Vice Chair Carla Brailey as a senior adviser to his campaign in December, and he hired California State Democratic Party Vice Chair Alexandra Rooker for a similar role in January.

    Both Brailey and Rooker are superdelegates who will likely vote for the Democratic presidential nominee at the party’s national convention this summer. Hiring the leadership of a state party doesn’t appear to break any campaign laws, but it indicates Bloomberg’s intent to effectively purchase political support, said Brendan Fischer, the federal reform program director at the Campaign Legal Center. “This does seem to fit a longstanding pattern of Bloomberg using his billions to help generate support among political elites,” he said.

    Doesn’t say what their salaries are. What do you think?

  35. Brooklin Bridge

    The Pentagon promises to use artificial intelligence for good, not evil

    Starting, no doubt, with protecting those precious bodily fluids.

  36. Wukchumni

    Crisis = Opportunity dept:

    If there ever was a reason to banish cash, Covid-19 could transmit via it, hmmmmmmmmmm…

    1. human

      Yeah, and instead we’ll use those touch-screens and terminal buttons to order and complete transactions.

  37. Wukchumni

    What sort of effect will Covid-19 in pushing everything even further online, although a bit of a Pyrrhic victory for online retailers-as their Made in China shelves become barren?

  38. Wukchumni

    One of the towns mentioned in the fruited plain whose water is compromised, is tiny Tooleville about 20 miles from where I type.

    The bigger issue is the deep Ag wells hitting their maximums @ around 1200 to 1500 feet down under, and then no more water. Look for some deals on almond firewood in the near future.

    Tombstone grew, but Sanger didn’t extend its borders, or its municipal water system. Cano, 48, inherited the home and its well and moved in in 1988. At first, being disconnected was fine. “The water used to have almost like a sweet taste. It just tasted good,” he said.

    In the years since, he watched neighboring farms switch from grape vineyards to growing almonds and install newer, deeper groundwater pumps. After his well first failed in the spring of 2015, he paid to have it lowered from 60ft to 105ft. Now it’s sputtering again, pumping air between bursts of water that Cano filters three times before each use.

  39. Wukchumni

    Every asset class is being pummeled (Down goes Frazier!) as if they all had glass jaws. We could have witnessed the end of the bubble economy as we knew it, this week.


    The end all be all of bubble blowing for yours truly was 4-consisting of one big bubble with progressively smaller ones within (just the opposite of the current saga) and if memory serves it required 7 wads of Bazooka gum that were chewed on for about 5 minutes, and in the big leagues of blowing bubbles when you’re 10, there’s always the risk of accidentally puncturing the main bubble, so you could get to a bubble in a bubble usually, but that’s when structural issues became a concern, and the 3rd one was risky @ best, and the 4th? A fools errand.

  40. xkeyscored


    Gilead Sciences has commenced two Phase III clinical trials of its investigational antiviral drug, remdesivir, for the treatment of Covid-19 in adults.
    The randomised, open-label, multi-centre studies will assess the safety and efficacy of the drug in nearly 1,000 patients. A five-day and ten-day dosing regimen of an intravenous formulation of remdesivir will be tested.
    The trials will mainly be conducted at sites in Asian countries impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. From March, sites will be added in other countries with a higher number of confirmed cases.

    It looks fairly cheap:
    BrightGene’s costs incurred in the development and production of the API [active pharmaceutical ingredient] and preparation is a ballpark CNY5 million renminbi ($717,500). Further expanding production will also demand a projected 10 million renminbi-odd, said Yicai Global.

    And, for the more technically minded,
    Remdesivir and chloroquine effectively inhibit the recently emerged novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in vitro

      1. xkeyscored

        The process of packaging bottles of chloroquine phosphate has resumed after a 15-year break (Picture: EPA)

        Multinational and local drugmakers are speeding up manufacturing and supply of chloroquine phosphate after the anti-malarial drug was included in the latest version of treatment guidelines for novel coronavirus pneumonia by the National Health Commission.
        More than 100 patients have been included in clinical trials in a dozen hospitals in Beijing and Guangdong and Hunan provinces, according to Sun Yanrong, deputy head of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
        Bayer said its has expedited supply and transportation of 300,000 tablets of Resochin (chloroquine phosphate) from one of its subsidiaries in Pakistan after receiving a request from the Guangdong provincial government.
        Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical Holdings Company said one of its drug subsidiaries also received a temporary drug registration license from the National Medical Products Administration to resume production of chloroquine phosphate tablet. Guangzhou Baiyunshan Guanghua Pharma has resumed full production capacity and has a daily capacity of 2 million tablets.

        Chloroquine is known to block virus infection by increasing endosomal pH required for virus/cell fusion, as well as interfering with the glycosylation of cellular receptors of SARS-CoV.1

          1. xkeyscored

            We show that a nucleotide prodrug, GS-5734 [remdesivir], currently in clinical development for treatment of Ebola virus disease, can inhibit SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV replication in multiple in vitro systems, including primary human airway epithelial cell cultures with submicromolar IC50 values.

            GS-5734 inhibited MERS-CoV replication in 2B4 cells with an average half-maximum inhibitory concentration (IC50) value of 0.025 μM (Fig. 1A and fig. S1). We did not observe any measureable cytotoxicity at concentrations of up to 10 μM (Fig. 1B and fig. S1), thus demonstrating that the 50% cytotoxic concentration (CC50) for GS-5734 is in excess of 10 μM (CC50/IC50 = therapeutic index, >400) in 2B4 cells.

            I think that means when they tried it in 2017, it looked safe, though they were only trying it on lab cell cultures.

  41. heresy101

    A potential scary scenario for our animal friends and for the spread of the coronavirus:

    The dog was quarantined in an animal center after getting a “weak positive” result in a test for the COVID-19 virus.

    The dog has not shown any symptoms of COVID-19, however, a spokesman for Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said on Friday.

    The spokesman said the dog belonged to a patient infected with the virus.

  42. Tomonthebeach

    Coronavirus and its global sweep stokes fear over facts. Experts say it’s unlikely to produce ‘apocalyptic scenario’

    Really? Really? WHAT friggin facts? Lying China facts, or Lying Trump facts?

    Even if nobody in the USA gets sick,
    – The stock market is crashing! Really? Really!
    – We are out of protective facemasks – they all come from China – they’re out too.
    – We are running low on medicines – Chine makes ’em.
    – We cannot build cars – parts made in China.
    – TVs, washers, dryers, wedding gowns – you name it – come from China

    That IS an apocalyptic scenario, dummy!

      1. inode_buddha

        I haven’t seen a lot of pollution out in the middle of Nebraska. On the other hand, I can’t wait till NYC burns to the ground. It would be doing humanity a favor. And a bunch of other cities too. I think the fact that 20 million of them are jammed into one city is the problem — they can’t support themselves without exploiting and destroying the surrounding area, and they get all violent with being crammed in so close. And full of diseases too.

        1. xkeyscored

          Won’t you miss all those TVs, washers, dryers, wedding gowns? However will you get by?
          As for the stock market, it has been looking like a bubble ripe for bursting for a while.

    1. Ignacio

      You can certainly live or die and masks wouldn’t be such a difference except for some professionals at risk. Please do not get crazy about masks. Leave them for those who really need them. These pictures from China showing everybody masked do not help.

      1. Wukchumni

        We’re all really cognizant of anything on somebody’s face.

        Asia is no stranger to wearing face masks, but it just isn’t done here, with the exception of Asian-Americans occasionally.

        I always thought a neat experiment would be to have a good amount of people all wearing an eye patch at an event, say 5 dozen out of 1,000 people. The reactions would be interesting to observe.

  43. Oregoncharles

    From “Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage:”
    “Mr. Sanders and his advisers insist that the opposite is true — that his ideas will generate huge excitement among young and working-class voters, and lead to record turnout. Such hopes have yet to be borne out in nominating contests so far.”

    Note the last sentence. One possibility: it’s too late. As some of us have pointed out before, support for either “major” party has plummeted since 2006. This means that both are activist “rumps” of their former glory. And since the Democrats have been a de facto conservative party for even longer, what’s left are the conservatives. Sanders is generating a lot of excitement, but so far, it isn’t drawing in enough new people to make a big difference overall. Of course, if he gets to the convention with over 51% of the delegates, it won’t matter unless they’re willing to do something drastic.

    However, all this opposition from the party honchos WILL matter if he’s nominated. As McGovern discovered, they’re perfectly willing to throw an election in order to keep their Iron Law power. That’s why Bernie’s organization is intended to be independent (raising the question: so why within the party?).

    A personal note: since I’m an outsider, I’ve tried to minimize my attention to the Democratic primary race. I’m not voting in the primary, though a lot of Greens will be. However, I’m extremely interested in the party structure – if only because I'[m hoping for a collapse. So I see “Willing to Risk Party Damage” as good news.

  44. xkeyscored

    An Iranian journalist on the radio just now saying the country wasn’t allowed to import WURS testing kits until Wednesday because of sanctions, and only had 5 or 15(?) in total. China has now sent them 20,000.

    1. MLTPB

      That would be tragic.

      Was it censorship we did not hear about their requesting for test kits earlier? Did they make it known at the UN, foe example, but no one reported?

      I think Atlantic or BBC had an article about Tehean not quarantining cities, and keeping shrines open. Not sure how they view this disease, or how easily it can spread.

      1. xkeyscored

        That journo did sound a bit hysterical.

        Tehran, Feb 28, IRNA – Representative of the World Health Organization in Iran Christoph Hamelmann in a message announced that the 5th shipment of coronavirus test kits arrived in Iran on Friday.
        “We are now bringing the fifth round of @WHO #COVID19 test kits and emergency equipment despite difficulties due to flight restrictions,” Hamelmann wrote in his Twitter account.
        “Thanks to @WHOIraq in #Baghdad they are flying to #Tehran,” he added.
        He then tweeted “5th round of #COVID-19 test kits arrived in #Tehran – just in time.”
        “How much easier and faster it would be without travel restrictions,” Hamelmann noted.
        (unclear if they’re US CDC or Chinese test kits)

  45. Deltron

    It appears that through the NGOs that Soros funds, he has stacked the ECHR with judges who owe him for their positions. The question becomes, why is Soros so concerned about having political power over human rights determinations?

  46. Expat2uruguay

    Guess which country is planning to administer 75 million doses of the flu vaccine this coming season?

    as many probably already know, Brazil has reported its first case of Coronavirus. Here’s an update… “Within 24 hours, the number of suspected cases jumped to 132, from 20, and government authorities said they expect the number to reach 300. The government has already discarded dozens of suspected cases.”
    “To contain the new coronavirus, the health ministry decided to push up the date for its national flu vaccination campaign to March 23. Despite being different viruses, Mandetta explained it will help avoid confusion stemming from the presence of similar symptoms that can overload the health system. The government plans to administer 75 million doses of flu vaccine.”


  47. nothing but the truth

    India riots: ‘We were attacked because we are Muslim’

    This is creative narration (and i have noticed when this happens – the “mainstream media” disables reader comments). This mess was started by the monotheists who had been preparing for urban warfare for months and their council member has been charged in the brutal (you don’t want to know the details) murder of a young off duty intelligence official, and another police official. One must say that Indian police are docile. If this was anywhere else in the world, the rioters would have been shot to kill by the police.

    Locals are saying this is a monotheistic neighbourhood which has pockets of polytheists.

    The monotheists want to chase out the polys and grab their land.

    But it is not looking good in India. My prediction is secularism (which really means communist indoctrinated anti polytheism in India – because it is a low risk trade) or even democracy will not last very long in India. The people will beg to end it.

  48. KFritz

    Re: Houston water main break

    I can’t recall seeing a break this big before–in the USA.. This is Third World-Banana Republic infrastructure maintainence in action

Comments are closed.